If you were to walk past Boulevard de Maisonneuve and Rue Berri, you would no doubt come across the empty — and ugly — concrete structure of the abandoned bus station. The station, which relocated four years ago, has since done little but sit and waste away. First attempts to rejuvenate the property (which is owned by the Quebec government) have thus far failed. And then a plan to construct a new tower also failed.
But a new group of hopefuls, the Marché Voyageur Citizens’ Action Group, recently offered a new proposal which aims at transforming the older structure into a public market space.
“[The Voyageur Market Action Group] presented its plan to the Ville-Marie borough council on Wednesday evening, hoping Mayor Denis Coderre will [embrace] the idea as a way to celebrate Montreal’s 375th birthday in 2017. [Project Operations Director Olivia Collette] said Marché Voyageur, which would be the city’s only permanent market with indoor access to the metro, would be a hub for local agriculture, train people living in poverty and help revitalize the neighbourhood,” Andy Riga wrote in the Montreal Gazette’s report of the proposal.
The Action Group has apparently been preparing its work on the plan for months. The mayor’s office was open to reviewing the plan, although the terminal’s fate remains uncertain at present.
The Citizens’ Action Group also released their mandate in a comprehensive package, which can be viewed here. Their mission, according to the literature, is to ‘boost the Quartier Latin’s economy.’
“Our priorities include a social economy, social integration, inventive green technologies, urban agriculture, sustainable development, local farmers, promoting the neighbourhood’s diverse local community, and tourism,” the briefing package explains.
The proposal was laid out in full, including plans for particular models of business on premises. An exciting aspect of the project, amongst others, was the solar-power-model which would sustain the building’s energy.
“The [project] we propose would allow the [city] to save on construction costs while preserving an existing historic building, which would become a hub for urban agriculture through its rooftop gardens, and be at the core of a social integration program aimed at creating [jobs],” the briefing continues.
“[The model] includes local growers and producers selling their wares at the market’s stalls, a pay-it-forward restaurant tied to the rooftop program…[the market’s] most innovative feature is the photovoltaic greenhouse, which harnesses solar energy that powers the entire building, and can even be fed back to the city’s grid.”
If successful, Marché Voyageur will be the first project of its kind in the borough of Ville-Marie, as well as in Montreal.